I confess to breathing a sigh of relief when I first learned of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s June 5 decision to appoint Knesset member Amir Ohana, a member of his Likud party, as Israel's next justice minister. Knesset member Bezalel Smotrich, the self-proclaimed candidate from the United Right, had said on June 3 that he wanted to take Israel back to the days of King David. Thus, the appointment of Ohana two days later enabled Israel to sound the all-clear siren, for now.
Over the years, Ohana has made his stance toward the Supreme Court clear. We know it to be a negative attitude in a country without a written constitution or a second house of parliament and where the Supreme Court is the only institution that can stand up to the executive and legislative branches. Ohana's perspective is shared by many on the Israeli right who consider the power of the Supreme Court excessive. On the other hand, Ohana has not suggested turning Israel into a country governed by Jewish religious law. That alone makes him preferable to Smotrich.